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View, browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. With this Session Viewer, you can view session and speaker details for Game Developers Conference 2024.

You will be able to build your schedule with the GDC Mobile App. The GDC 2024 app will be available for download in Apple Apps and Google Play late February 2024.

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Minigames as Worldbuilding: Designing a Card Game for 'Saltsea Chronicles'

Ben Wilson  (Creative Producer, Die Gute Fabrik)

Daria Radu  (Game Programmer, Die Gute Fabrik,

Location: Room 2001, West Hall

Date: Friday, March 22

Time: 11:30 am - 12:00 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass - Get your pass now!

Topic: Design

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: All

Videogames often contain minigames or sub-systems (e.g. fishing, gambling) that allow the player to blow off steam and take a break from the main gameplay. But we can get even more ambitious in how those sub-systems serve the main story or worldbuilding. In this talk, two designers on story-driven adventure game Saltsea Chronicles recount the development of a trick-taking card game, Spoils, that was created for the project. In the fictional world of Saltsea Chronicles, each island community plays Spoils, but with their own house rules. First, this talk describes how the core Spoils mechanic was inspired by both the politics and history of the fictional world. Second, the talk explains how the rules variations were used to deepen the sense of place of each in-game locale. Games inevitably reflect their cultural context, and we can use that dynamic to heighten the meaning of minigames in larger videogame worlds.


Ben and Doug will explain how minigame design can be used to enrich the game's story and worldbuilding; how research into a specific genre can be used to scaffold the design process, and how genre fluency can provide designers with a palette to work with when tailoring their own minigames.

Intended Audience

This talk is aimed at anyone working on story games, minigames, or card games, or anyone who is interested in how we can deepen the relationship between traditional game mechanics and worldbuilding. No specific prerequisite knowledge is required.

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